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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Archive for the ‘Training, Skills & Techniques’ Category

RSI Conducts Seminars on Court ADR in New Mexico

Just Court ADR, October 24th, 2019

RSI Executive Director Susan Yates conducted a series of three seminars on “Building Your Court’s Civil ADR System” at New Mexico’s statewide ADR conference in Santa Fe on October 9 and 10. The court track at the conference was hosted by the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts and the Statewide ADR Commission. Judges, court personnel and mediators from all across the state participated.

The first of the three sessions was called “Design Your Program” and addressed issues such as goal-setting, research, determining which ADR process to use and budgeting. The second session, “Work with Neutrals,” dealt with a variety of topics from determining the criteria for mediators and other neutrals to ensuring continuing quality of services. The third session, “Manage, Track, Evaluate and Promote Your Program,” detailed the many tasks required to maintain a healthy court ADR program. During the seminars, participants had opportunities to work with others from their particular jurisdictions about how to address the issues in their local context. If you are interested in reading more about these topics, visit our Guide to Program Success. To learn about how RSI can work with or provide training for your program, send a message to a member of our staff!

Left to Right: RSI Executive Director Susan Yates during her presentation in New Mexico and Susan Yates with Mateo Page, ADR Statewide Program Manager at the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts.

New Mediator Self-Reflection Tool

Susan M. Yates, January 9th, 2019

The Supreme Court of Virginia has developed a wonderful new self-reflection form for mediators. While the Court developed this tool for their certified mediators as part of their re-certification process, it is a valuable tool for any mediator (just ignore the instructions about continuing mediator education credits). There is a lot of content, so if you are using this on your own you will probably want to pick and choose among the questions. This new tool coordinates with Virginia’s excellent Mediator Self-Reflection Treasury.

Even though mediators work very closely with people when we mediate, typically no one else in the room shares our mediator perspective. There are exceptions, such as co-mediation or when we are observed by new mediators, but mediation can be an isolated activity (made especially so by the limits of confidentiality). This isolation makes self-reflection particularly important.

I can imagine many uses for these tools beyond self-reflection. A group of mediators could pick a few of the questions to discuss over lunch. For co-mediators, the tools could aid their debriefing. The forms might help a new court or community mediation program get clear about what they expect from mediators. The tools will probably spark other ideas when you read them.

Many thanks to the good people of the Supreme Court of Virginia for taking the time to produce and share these tools. They are a real gift to the mediation community.

Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution Adopts New Intimate Partner Violence Screening Policy

Nicole Wilmet, November 1st, 2018

In September, the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution (“GCDR”) issued a press release announcing their adoption of new Rules for Mediating Cases with Domestic Violence. The new rules come after the GCDR updated their Guidelines for Mediation in Cases Involving Issues of Domestic Violence (which were first adopted in 1994 and amended in 2003 and 2005) to bring the guidelines up-to-date with domestic violence research and ensure that best practices are being used. To assist in their effort to update their guidelines, the GCDR collaborated with the Georgia Commission on Family Violence (“GCFV”) to create a domestic violence working group to spearhead the change to the GCDR guidelines.

Between 2016 and 2018, the working group brought together a wide variety of experts with experience and knowledge in the areas of court ADR, domestic violence, family violence, and mediation to develop the new GCDR rules. During their collaboration, the working group developed four guiding principles for the rules including safety, self-determination, best practices and practical implementation. The first of these two principles require that cases be screened to assess whether mediation can be done safely and free from coercion. The final two principles focus on the design of the rules and require that the rules align with best practices in the field and can be reasonably implemented by local programs.

The GCDR’s new rules will be effective January 1, 2021. Until then, the GCDR and the GCFV will continue to collaborate with each other and plan to support a joint committee to oversee the implementation of the rules, training, review, and revision of the rules. Once the rules are finalized, they will be uploaded to the GCDR website. Additionally, the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution will be developing rules to assist courts in designing appropriate intake procedures and will work with the GCDR to assist courts in developing appropriate screening training for court personnel.

Mediators, Can We Shift Perspectives on the “Blind Men and the Elephant” Story?

Susan M. Yates, August 11th, 2017

I have a problem with a story that we in the conflict resolution field use and I’m hoping we can find a replacement for it. It’s the story about people who are blind encountering an elephant. It’s a metaphor and it’s used to make a point about differing perspectives, but from my perspective it sends a negative message about people who are blind.

If you don’t know the story, the idea is that several people who are blind encounter an elephant and because they each touch a different part of the elephant, they perceive it differently. Someone touches the tail and says an elephant is a rope, someone else touches the trunk and says it is a snake, etc. You get the idea. Only a sighted person – who can see the whole – understands that it is an elephant.

My problem with this story is that it defines people who are visually impaired as inherently limited and lacking in capability. (more…)

Takeaways from a Child Protection Mediator Training

Eric Slepak-Cherney, February 6th, 2017

On January 20-21, RSI put on an advanced two-day training for the mediators in our new Child Protection Mediation Program operating out of Geneva, IL. This training was the culmination of our efforts to put in place a dynamic and collaborative new forum to address child abuse and neglect cases in Illinois’ 16th Judicial Circuit Court. Based on the outcome of the training, I feel confident that our new program will be a huge boon to Kane County, the jurisdiction which the program serves. I also am glad to have taken away some ideas about how to create a better mediator training event, which I get to share with all of you. (more…)